A Cool Summer Here, But Not Everywhere
As I write this it is a misty and gray afternoon on the west side of Manhattan, with ragged clouds hanging so low they are obscuring New Jersey just across the Hudson River. Days like this have been common this pseudo-summer in parts of the mid-Atlantic and throughout the entire Northeast. With less than 40 days remaining in meteorological summer, the atmosphere is still showing few signs of relinquishing the unusual weather pattern that has brought generally cool and wet conditions to the D.C. area and the rest of the Northeast Corridor, while at the same time roasting parts of the South and Southwest.
The statistics are rather startling, and they justify comments that I've heard recently from passersby about how this is a year without a summer.
How does the summer weather where you are compare with the rest of the country and world? Keep reading...
Of course, weather historians know that the real "Year Without a Summer" was in 1816, after the Tambora Volcano in Indonesia erupted, sending enough ash into the atmosphere to dim the sun worldwide. (Incidentally, wouldn't "Mount Tambora" or "Tambora Volcano" make a great name for a heavy metal band?)
However, there is no volcano to blame this year for the cool weather in some of the nation's most heavily populated areas. New York's Central Park is on its way to recording its second coolest July on record, and was running 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit below normal as of Tuesday. New York has not yet recorded a 90-degree day this summer, and according to the National Weather Service, if that fails to occur by the end of this month it would be the first year since 1996 where the 90-degree mark was not reached in June or July.
Besides 1996, there are no other years on record in which that has happened.
Farther north, in Boston the story is much the same, with above-normal precipitation in June and July and temperatures far below normal. Boston has not had a 90-degree day all summer either.
Fortunately, rather than being locked into the cool air mass, Washington has been closer to the dividing zone between the cool and wet weather to the north and the warmer, more humid conditions to the south. This has brought occasional bouts of showers and thunderstorms, but also some refreshingly dry air at times, as CWG's Jason Samenow detailed yesterday. July thus far is running 3.7 degrees below average at Reagan National Airport, and 2.3 degrees below normal at Dulles.
The cool summer in the Northeast and areas of the Midwest has led some climate change contrarians to jump on the familiar "a cool day, week, or month of weather in one region means global climate change isn't happening" bandwagon, which has been repeatedly debunked.
One contrarian Web site even ran a banner headline yesterday referring to record cold in Nashville, Tenn. "Gore's hometown in Summer Shiver: Nashville's Record Cold Breaks 1877 Temp Record 'Set when Rutherford B. Hayes was President'," the headline stated. For added emphasis, a black-and-white photo of Mr. Hayes accompanied the headline.
Yet, as much as the skeptics might wish to use abnormally cool weather to disprove the theory of manmade climate change, a look at the rest of the country and the globe as a whole reveals that our cool summer is actually the exception rather than the rule. Texas, for example, has been roasting under exceptionally oppressive heat and drought conditions. Austin, the state capital, has had just two days below 100 degrees since July 1, with the month running about six degrees above normal thus far. June wasn't much cooler either.
According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, N.C., June's combined average global land and ocean surface temperature was the second warmest on record since 1880, and world ocean surface temperatures set an all-time record high for the month (consistent with the emergence of a new El Nino event). The global land surface temperature for June 2009 was 1.26 degrees F above the 20th century average, and ranked as the sixth warmest June on record.
In fact, according to NCDC's June climate anomalies map, which resembles an old lite-brite board, the U.S. northern tier stands out as one of the few areas of cooler-than-normal conditions in the entire world during June.
Oh well. Maybe we'll have a blazing hot fall?
| July 22, 2009; 10:40 AM ET
Categories: Climate Change, Freedman, Local Climate, News & Notes
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